Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Awarded Grant Through U.S. Soccer Innovate to Grow Fund
Plymouth Meeting—February 15, 2019— Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is proud to announce the state association is one of 17 members of U.S. Soccer awarded a grant through the Federation’s Innovate to Grow Fund. The grant will help fund Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Mobile Education Center, which will provide coaching education, referee education and general assistance to organizations in underserved areas.
“Through one-on-one education, we can provide community leaders with tools necessary to sustain soccer programming in areas where it doesn’t exist or is struggling,” Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer CEO Chris Branscome said. “I’d like to thank the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors for recognizing the innovation behind the Mobile Education Center. We can’t wait to implement the program.”
The Mobile Education Center stems from a drop in soccer participation in Philadelphia. The city has experienced a 70 percent decline in registered players over the last 15 years according to Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer numbers. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Grassroots Soccer Manager JT Dorsey, working with Director of Soccer Development and Performance Gary Stephenson as well as clubs in the city, identified changing demographics and a lack of administrative assistance as reasons for the decline.
With the Innovate to Grow Grant, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer will purchase laptops and bring courses—coaching and referee education as well as risk management and registration help—directly to inner city clubs. Attendees will complete on-field and online portions of courses on the same day. In turn, those leaders can better serve the players in their communities.
“There is a false assumption that computers are readily available to people regardless of their socio-economic background,” Dorsey said. “We will bridge a gap by taking the resources directly to these underserved communities, which will not only help candidates complete online requirements, but also allows the state association to create a stronger connection with participants.”
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer will start the Mobile Education Center in Philadelphia then expand the program to other rural and urban areas in Eastern Pennsylvania.
The Innovate to Grow Fund was established in 2017 to help U.S. Soccer member organizations launch new and innovative programs to grow participation in their markets.
“We are delighted to see this program expand significantly in its second year,” said U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro in a Federation press release. “This shows us just how eager our members are to grow the game in their communities.”
For any questions on the Mobile Education Center or to set up a course, contact JT Dorsey and Gary Stephenson.
ABOUT EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER: Since 1972, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has worked throughout Eastern Pennsylvania to promote, foster and perpetuate the game of soccer to the region’s youth. Through competitions, educational programs, outreach efforts and coaching clinics, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer impacts the lives of more than 120,000 youth soccer players from ages 5 to 19. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is one of 55 state associations in US Youth Soccer and a member of the United States Soccer Federation. Additional information about Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer can be found at www.EPYSA.org.